On Thursday, about 18 young people from the Sunrise Movement were arrested for occupying Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s office in Washington D.C. The group was protesting a government shutdown and demanding climate action.
Adah Crandall is a climate activist, organizer with the youth-led Sunrise Movement, and a recent graduate of Grant High School in Portland. She participated in the protest but was not among the people who were arrested during the sit-in outside Speaker McCarthy’s office.
“We stood in the hallway and listened to the echoes of our friends continuing to sing as all of them were arrested,” she said. “Demanding that the GOP not shut down the government and that they act on climate immediately.”
Crandall and other members of the Sunrise Movement traveled this week to D.C. to lobby for the Green New Deal for Public Schools Act. The proposal was reintroduced by Democratic lawmakers Rep. Jamaal Bowman of New York and Sen. Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts on Thursday.
It was an honor to join @RepBowman and @SenMarkey for the reintroduction of the Green New Deal for Public Schools, that'll give power back to students.— Sunrise Movement 🌅 (@sunrisemvmt) September 28, 2023
We're done with crumbling buildings, done with GOP extremist policies, done waiting for the next climate disaster to hit. pic.twitter.com/uR0Y0hdi4X
The $1.6 trillion proposal calls for retrofitting public schools to make them greener and safer, creating pathways to green jobs, boosting resources and support services for students with disabilities, and making other investments to school districts across the nation, especially in underserved communities.
“Our vision for school with the Green New Deal is that schools are no longer just a place that people are forced to be,” she said. “Schools are community hubs where people know that they can go to for the support and the resources that they need, whether that’s mental health support, whether that’s providing free lunches to students, whether that’s making schools shelters when climate disasters hit.”
The Sunrise Movement is spearheading a campaign to mobilize students at more than 50 high schools around the nation to lobby for passage of the Green New Deal for Schools. Crandall said those local efforts could help build greater grassroots engagement with Gen Z students around the climate crisis.
“At the heart of our theory of change is this idea that we build our power by organizing our communities,” she said. “In the context of the schools campaign, it means talking to every single person that we go to school with. It means having countless conversations and connecting with people and building relationships and finding out what each person’s stake is in this fight because everyone has a stake in stopping the climate crisis even if they don’t know it yet.”
At 17, Crandall has been working on climate issues for several years, including helping organize a campaign while she was a sophomore at Grant High that called for a moratorium on freeway expansion in the Portland metro area. The Sunrise Movement held frequent rallies in front of the Oregon Department of Transportation for months.
“We need to organize every student across race and across class,” she said. “We’re showing communities that the Green New Deal is something that can make a tangible impact in their lives. And it’s not just this big bill in Congress.”
Crandall spoke to “Think Out Loud” host Dave Miller about the Green New Deal for Schools. Listen to the full conversation: